Dropping Context

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Robert Spencer opens a column about an "honor" killing in Canada at FrontPage Magazine by documenting several superhuman feats of context-dropping:

Aqsa Parvez was sixteen years old; her father has been charged with strangling her to death because she refused to wear the hijab. Shahina Siddiqui, president of the Islamic Social Services Association, declared: "The strangulation death of Ms. Parvez was the result of domestic violence, a problem that cuts across Canadian society and is blind to colour or creed." Sheikh Alaa El-Sayyed, imam of the Islamic Society of North America in Mississauga, Ontario, agreed: "The bottom line is, it's a domestic violence issue." Nor was this denial limited only to Muslims. Lorne Gunter said in the Edmonton Journal: "I see nothing uniquely Muslim in her death. If, indeed, her father killed her, her death is his doing, not Islam's." [bold added, links omitted]
All of these people are correct that this was a case of domestic violence, but wrong to imply that identifying it as such closes the case. This is a homicide and an important part of solving such a case involves identifying any possible motives of the killer. That Islam might be important here is so obvious that the three commentators here could not possibly be missing the point by accident.

Robert Spencer understands this, and lays out how Islam predisposed this young woman's father to kill her. But he also understands what it means that so many seem -- fellow Moslem to the father, and leftist alike -- so content to hang him while ignoring crucial evidence.
[T]hink for a minute about what Muslim spokesmen in Canada could be saying. They could acknowledge that the divine sanction given to the beating of disobedient women by Qur'an 4:34 has created a culture in which such abuse is accepted as normal. They could call for a searching reevaluation of the meaning and continued relevance of that verse and other traditional material that reinforces it, and call in no uncertain terms for Muslims to reject definitively its literal meaning, now and for all time to come. They could acknowledge the prevalence of honor killing in Islamic culture, which has no sanction as such in Islamic theology but nonetheless enjoys enough Islamic approval that the Jordanian Parliament a few years ago rejected on Islamic grounds attempts to stiffen penalties for it. They could call for sweeping reform and reexamination of the status of women in Islam.

For any of this to happen, Muslim leaders in Canada would have to adopt an unfamiliar and uncharacteristic stance of self-criticism, and Canadian leaders would have to abandon their ongoing infatuation with multiculturalism. [link omitted, bold added]
Ideas cannot kill unless acted upon, but in the sense that they can guide actions, one can liken them to parties to a murder, and see that as possible motives, they can, in a sense, go on trial. To see a bunch of Moslems and multiculturalists so eager to comply with Western law is rather odd -- until one realizes that by doing so, they hope to stop the investigation of a murder before it becomes apparent that in the sense I just indicated, Islam is one of the killers, and multiculturalism an accomplice.

To refuse to demand a full explanation of the father's motives here is not merely unjust. It is to sanction the murder of this girl by letting evil ideas go unevaluated by others who hold them and may later act upon them.

-- CAV


Francis W. Porretto said...

Islam's shield is its claim to be a "religion," but no authentic religion can rightfully claim the privilege of coercing non-believers into following its dictates. If Islam were deprived of its shield, it would be recognizably worse than Nazism or Communism --- and equally unwelcome among men of good will.

There's a reason the preponderance of American converts to Islam are prison inmates. How much longer will it be before Americans manage to connect these dots?

Gus Van Horn said...

I dispute your contention that Islam is not a religion because you eliminate it as such on non-essential grounds. A religion is simply "a set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe, esp. when considered as the creation of a superhuman agency or agencies, usually involving devotional and ritual observances, and often containing a moral code governing the conduct of human affairs."

However, I do agree with you that (1) Islam is wrong to attempt to force others to live according to its dictates and (2) multiculturalism is wrong to exempt it from scrutiny.

Followers of religions have, throughout history, with the exception of the modern West, routinely sought to force others to live in accordance with their beliefs (or even "convert"). Islam is unexceptional in that regard, whereas the in the pluralistic society of the West, where such behavior is now rightfully regarded as abhorrent, the norm of religious tolerance is actually historically the exception.

It is important to consider why this is the case. To summarize as best I can, there are two differences. First, in the West, ever since the re-discovery of Aristotle ultimately led to the Renaissance, the influence of reason has been stronger here than in the rest of the world. Second, one result of the Protestant Reformation has been a proliferation of Christian sects, none in a position to dictate terms to everyone else. Even ardent followers of these religions eventually came to realize that survival involved having to agree to disagree with others, to live and let live.

Religion is accepted on faith, meaning regardless of what evidence and logic might indicate to be true. This means in turn that one cannot argue about religious matters. The follower of a religion must either accept that others don't believe as he does or find some other means of molding society as his deity sees fit -- which means to force others to do so.

Man has recourse only to rational persuasion or brute force. Far from being unusual, Islam is typical of religion in predisposing men to use the latter.

The fact that Islam has not been shaped by the same kinds of influences that much of Western Christianity has is what makes it so dangerous by comparison.

As for you last comment, I would agree that criminals covet the "cover" Islam provides, but Christianity provides a moral cover for many. This is why so many inmates "find God".